New Zealand Law Society - 2016 ILANZ Awards

2016 ILANZ Awards

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A senior prosecutor with New Zealand Police in Hamilton, Adam Pell is the 2016 ILANZ Public Sector In-house Lawyer of the Year.

Mr Pell was presented his award, one of five ILANZ awards presented at a dinner on 13 May held in association with the 2016 ILANZ Conference in Nelson.

Mr Pell’s performance this year “demonstrates his commitment to providing legal services of the highest standard,” the award nomination states.

The nomination quoted three citations from senior police officers after Mr Pell managed a complex domestic violence prosecution that secured the conviction of a gang offender and end sentence of four years’ prison with a non-parole period of two years.

Mr Pell “utilised his skill as an advocate and resilience to withstand a number of pressures during this case to obtain a preventative outcome for a very vulnerable victim.”

In congratulating Mr Pell for his “sterling prosecutorial work”, Area Commander Inspector John Kelly said that Mr Pell’s “knowledge of the law, and application of it, indeed contributed to the very successful convictions outcome.”

Inspectors Stephen King and Anthony Rielly also congratulated Mr Pell.

The award nomination also referred to Mr Pell’s service in supporting the Police’s Prevention First Strategy, particularly in relation to recidivist shoplifting and trespass offending. Mr Pell prepared legal submissions on propensity and sentencing “in order to ensure that all of the available evidence was utilised in court and that a consistent approach was applied”.

The framework and submissions he had prepared had been used by other Police Prosecution Service (PPS) workgroups throughout New Zealand.

This year, Mr Pell was appointed as the first mentor from PPS on the national Police Development Programme. This appointment recognised his informal mentoring over a seven-year period.

As well as his work with the PPS, Mr Pell is on the New Zealand Law Society’s Waikato Bay of Plenty branch Council.

Private sector award

Associate general counsel at Vector Limited, Jackie Floyd is the Greenwood Roche Private Sector In-house Lawyer of the Year.

“Jackie is an outstanding lawyer who also has strong empathy and the ability to bring out the best in the people she works with internally and externally,” says Vector General Counsel John Rodger.

“Jackie is recognised as an emerging leader in our business.”

Ms Floyd has been a key contributor to two major commercial and litigation projects of significance to Vector over the last year.

The first was the sale of all shares in Vector Gas Ltd to First State Funds for $952.5 million, resulting in a gain on sale for Vector of about $167 million.

“This was a landmark transaction in the New Zealand market, both due to its size and because it was a sale of heavily regulated assets of strategic importance to New Zealand,” the award nomination states.

The second project was the Kapanui gas arbitration.

In September 2015, Vector received an arbitral award from a dispute regarding the applicable terms for the next tranche of Kapanui gas.

Ms Floyd was the legal lead for Vector on the arbitration, which the nomination describes as “a large, highly complex and intense dispute resolution process”. Although the other parties have applied to appeal certain parts of the award, the arbitration result was still “extremely significant for Vector”.

“Jackie’s work at Vector demonstrates all the best qualities of an in-house counsel. As well as managing her business-as-usual responsibilities and assuming a wholly new role as manager of four direct reports, Jackie has led Vector’s legal response to its most significant commercial and litigation projects with outstanding results.”

Young in-house lawyer

Kim Beech, senior legal counsel at Z Energy Limited, is the MAS Young In-House Lawyer of the Year.

“Over the past year Kim has clearly demonstrated her potential as a leading member of the in-house legal profession in New Zealand,” her nomination states.

She has played a “critical role” in Z’s preparation for the new health and safety law.

Before joining Z, Ms Beech had not practised in either HSSE law or corporate governance. “She is now known as a HSSE legal expert within the business and at the board table, and is an integral part of Z’s company secretarial team.

“Her input has enabled Z to develop a thorough understanding of the new law and to be well prepared for it. Z’s legal team can also now deliver more HSSE advice in-house rather than relying on external counsel, so we can provide fit for purpose advice, tailored to the business.”

For a company importing and selling 2.4 billion litres of hazardous fuel a year, “this has been one of the most important and significant pieces of work within Z over the last year”.

Ms Beech was also involved in the project team for Z’s planned $785 million purchase of the shares in Chevron New Zealand. [At the time of making the nomination, the transaction was subject to Commerce Commission clearance.]

“One of the essential elements of Kim’s role as been to provide clear direction to Z staff on how to conduct themselves while working on the project, given the transaction involves the acquisition of a competitor in a highly scrutinised industry.

“Kim has needed to develop an excellent understanding of competition law, and deliver clear advice and training on a day-to-day basis on often bespoke and challenging practical issues.

“To give an idea of scale, in addition to one-off staff advice, Kim has delivered multiple face-to-face training sessions to approximately 100 staff members at a time.

“Kim has also learnt to manage the essential legal elements for a major acquisition and the layers of complexity that go with that,” her nomination said.

Community contribution

Public Defence Service lawyer Megan Paish is the winner of the 2016 AUT Law School Community Contribution Award.

The award comes as a result of her significant voluntary contribution over the last 12 years to Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley.

Ms Paish volunteers fortnightly at Community Law’s Kaupapa Māori free legal advice drop-in session. She also frequently presents at Community Law’s training and education sessions “where she is a passionate, engaging speaker”.

In addition, she frequently volunteers to attend fairs and weekend events for the Community Law staff.

“Megan has many wonderful qualities,” her nomination says, including:

  • she is passionate about helping people understand and access their legal entitlements;
  • she engages with clients in plain English to share as much as she can and empower them;
  • she works holistically to help clients identify and then meet their social and health needs, as well as the presenting legal issue; and
  • she is a committed mentor that takes pride in nurturing and building the skills and confidence of new volunteers.

“She also is currently studying for Honours in criminology, on top of working 60 hours per week for the Public Defence Service and volunteering [at Community Law].”

Legal team of the year

The in-house legal team of New Zealand Government Procurement (NZGP) is the Chapman Tripp In-House Legal Team of the Year.

NZGP, a branch within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is responsible for improving procurement results across government through Procurement Functional Leadership.

The team comprises four lawyers – John Buick-Constable, principal legal advisor; Kym Thomas and Stephanie Mullally, senior legal advisors; and Dominika Gawor, legal advisor.

It provides “significant input into the strategy, policy direction and operations of NZGP and has been critical to the delivery of NZGP’s key projects and priorities,” the nomination states.

Some of the major work and activities the team has undertaken in the last 12 months demonstrate:

  • the team’s leadership in the government procurement space and excellence in the provision of related legal services (including legal training);
  • effective team, time and resource management (notably as a team of only four lawyers);
  • effective management of external legal and other advisors, and effective collaboration with other government agencies; and
  • innovation and best practice.
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